Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year of the Tiger

11:45 and these great young adults are rallied round the dining table playing a game and laughing. (darling daughter is 2nd from right). With all the noise they are making, it will be difficult for me to get to sleep but I don't care. They are home and safe and happy. The best start to this year of the tiger. As for me, I'm reading the end of the latest John Irving novel tonight, and earlier today my friend Sue and I went to a matinee of "It's Complicated". We loved it. If you are a fan of romantic comedy, it may be a must see for you too.

Blessings of good health to all of you - most of the rest of life's stuff can be worked out.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WW and Elroy

I'm a bad WW Blogger today, but I have an excuse. I'm racing around this morning trying to get things done so that I can go meet my new grand nephew Elroy. That's him ah, "sitting" in my niece Meghan's lap. He's black and WHITE, so let's pretend it counts OK?

A special thank you to all of the new visitors to oldgreymare because of the lovely post June wrote about me. I am overwhelmed and so touched by the outpouring of good wishes and kindness from all over the world (literally, all over the world!) It will take me days to read all of your blogs but I plan to visit every one. We all have that one thing in common. We all love June! Isn't she just the best? That is why the gift box was sent her in some way let her know how many lives she touches in a positive way. She's a blessing. I promise to do WW better next week. Maybe show all the white in my house going down instead of being put up? OK , so that wouldn't be too interesting. I'll think of something I promise.

Happy New Year! WOOF!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sweet Carola


Please contact me through my email link here on my blog. I have so much I want to say, but could not find a link for your email on either site. First Thing: Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments- you absolutely made my day, maybe even my week, and I will be going all through your beautiful blog starting this evening. Just the first page alone has me in awe. I am thrilled to meet YOU!

a note to all:

Please hold special thoughts for a friend of mine who is going through a tough time. I just learned tonight of her troubles and do not wish to invade her privacy by sharing here, but please send up a prayer for good health for that friend of Suzan's. We're all in this alone and therefore we're all in this together.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last WW of 09

Had some extra Christmas baubles rolling around on my studio desk and decided to pop them up on the gates in my hallway. Prior posts show these gates showcasing darling daughter's black and white photography. With no thought to placement or design I just hung them here and there and then stood back and snapped away. I am sure I will fiddle around with the display over the next few days and probably add some more trinkets as I come across them. A very flat Christmas tree. If you're counting, that is No 9 in the house this year.

My annual Care package today from cousin Cindi in Pittsburgh. I am an original Western PA gal myself, and those of you from that area are quite familiar with "chipped ham". Usually heated in barbecue sauce and served on a soft bun, but my absolute favorite is on cheap white bread with Ketchup (Heinz) of course. Cannot be found anywhere else in the US except in a small area where people still say "yunz". My heart strings are still pulled back to that area, the most beautiful country ever. Latrobe was home to me, the Steeler's training camp, Mr. Rogers and Rolling Rock. Mr. Rogers is gone and Rolling Rock is no longer really Rolling Rock and no longer brewed there. :-(. I think the bottles are still fibbing about it however.

I am thrilled by this sweet act of kindness each year and for just a minute I am 6, plopped on the back stoop, with an icy cold glass of milk and a stacked "sand witch" of chipped ham.

Thank you dear Cousin.

From my heart to your home- a very blessed Holiday to you all. See you next week.


Sunday, December 20, 2009


Beautiful, wonderful, college women all crowded on the den couch, watching silly movies they enjoyed years ago. Political discussions, a few arguments about the merits of certain current TV shows and movies, stories of first semesters at UNR, Washington Jefferson, Vassar and NYU. Stories from MIT flew in today.

Darling daughter and Vassar pal escaped New York on one of the last flights out Saturday morning after a near miss of plane due to missteps in subway travel. They got blooming lost--- and barely made the airport only to discover Vassar pal was overbooked and darling daughter had to board plane without friend, and was seated tearfully, afraid of leaving friend stranded in NY. At the very last second, friend was boarded and all was well and they arrived one hour early, barely allowing parents to arrive on time.

This morning, four lovely women for breakfast of banana chocolate chip pancakes. Four lovely all grown up girls playfully dueling with pajama strings. I have been near weeping for 24 hours now. Every grown up scene, every childlike scene makes me weepy with joy. Darling daughter decided to nap mid day with me in my bed, and were quickly joined by 2 pooches. Heaven.

Dearest son home in three days and it will be Heaven plus 1. sigh...and another huge sigh.....

Friday evening was my Starry Night party and it was a joyous event for me to dine and share with good friends. I enjoyed surprising everyone with treats and gifts. The joy really is in the giving. I managed, but just barely, to get all the food out at the same time and of course I made tons of food, and have leftovers but the kids will take care of that. The roasted red pepper and artichoke dip was a big hit so I will share that. Many of the ladies also brought delicious dips and treats that are so appreciated.

The Holiday week is off to a wonderful start and will include shopping and dining and a house full of college kids and my friends and it is a most Wonderful time of the year.

I am hopeful that your home is also filled with JOY and many blessings.

1 cup fresh parm cheese grated
1/2 cup mayo
8 oz cream cheese softened
1 garlic clove minced
14 oz artichoke hearts drained and chopped
1/3 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers. I use half the jar from trader joes that has yellow and red and just pick out the red ones but be wild and use both if you want!

I have a small chopper I use to blend it all together, but leave the artichokes and peppers pretty large, but you can chop it all smooth. I put into small cooker( mini crock pot thingie) cover and heat up. I heat up for about one hour and then serve. Stir it occasionally. Crackers or the potato cheddar bread from Traders is also great as dippers.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Grabbed a camera last evening and quickly shot a few more whites

As Promised: A Holiday Recipe - I have made this for many years. Has never failed me. Very rich and decadent so the small slices means many servings. I am serving this at a party this year.

Frozen Mocha Cheesecake

1 1/4 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 24 cookies) - the thin ones in long yellow box
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c butter melted
1 (80z) cream cheese softened
1 (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
2/3 chocolate flavored syrup
2 TB instant coffee
1 teaspoon hot water
1 cup (1/2 pint) whipping cream whipped

In small bowl combine crumbs, sugar and butter, In buttered 9 inch spring form pan, pat crumbs firmly on bottom and up sides of pan. CHILL. In large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy, add condensed milk and chocolate syrup. In small bowl, dissolve coffee in water, add to condensed milk mixture. Mix well. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into prepared pan. Cover, (foil is fine). Freeze 6 hours or until firm. I usually make it the day before. Garnish with additional crumbs if desired. Return leftovers to freezer.


Cookies and more Cookies

COOKIES - For three days I have been standing in front of the stove, sink, and counter making cookies. Cookies for an upcoming party this week, and cookies for the kids. Pepparkakor, Mexican Chocolate, Sugar, Raspberry Thumbprint, Molasses, Lemon Cheesecake Bars. Three are roll and cut out and decorate - time consuming but oh, so worth it. Making many, many dozens for gifts too.

In between the timers going off, I am wrapping party favors, friend gifts and Santa gifts and the tissue and tape are flying!

Counting down each and every day till my kids are home. Just mentioning it makes me giddy. I moved far away from my familial home when I was in my early twenties. I rarely saw my folks more than one week a year until they passed. I saw brother Scott even less. No problem, just life always got in the way it seems. I could not move there, they would not move here. I know I do not want the same situation with my offspring. It will be a few more years until I know where they will plant themselves, with semi- permanent roots, but I will live near at least one of them if at all possible. I tease them saying the first grandchild will dictate the move. Of course they may choose not to reproduce. At their age they have idealistic concerns about the world's future, as I did, maybe you did.....but I knew from the time I was very young that I wanted to have children, and thank heaven I did. They are my joy, my inspiration, my pride and I cannot imagine having had a life without them.

That is my Christmas. My children - almost home - almost Christmas.

Most likely I will be missing in action here and there for a couple weeks, squeezing in every second of time with them. I will try to catch WW and post some recipes and photos from my Starry Night party. If I miss seeing you here because you are busy, please let me wish you a very happy and safe Holiday Season. My sincerest best wishes to you and yours. I am having difficulty comprehending the idea of 2010...Didn't we just have Y2K?

There will be a Valentine Gathering - to be announced in January.

All the colors? it's 1:00 am and I'm getting a little sleep deprived and silly.

Merry Christmas!

Suzan the oldgreymare

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

White Wednesday Holiday

A few pics of the booth

Hundreds of pendants and earrings

Close up of these beautiful pendants by H&S

Everyone enjoy WWW Wonderful White Wednesdays. Please visit all the rest by using the WW link over there to the left <-------------

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Show



Sunday, December 6, 2009

Doodlebug and Gratitude

I can never thank my friends enough for all their love and support and yesterday was one of those times that I said a quick prayer of gratitude for my gal pals who worked their butts off yesterday and all for me. In alpha order, because they are all equally tremendous. Heather, Pam, Paula, Sarah, and Sue. I also want to thank Suzi for driving all the way out to support us, even though she could only stay a wee bit.

Some of them had to get up at 4:00am to get ready and then drive across town to be at my house by 5:30 so we could load up FOUR cars and be at the show by 6:00. We had one small glitch with the huge advent. It wouldn't fit in the car we planned so it had to go in the open back truck, which entailed wrapping it in blankets and using loads of bungee cords so all the pieces wouldn't fly off the board. I followed the truck all the way out, and Pam did superb in keeping at just the right speed so it arrived safely.

Within five minutes of entering the booth, I tripped over the canopy and did a full slam into the floor, first both knees and then both palms and wrists. Great Start! Adding to by embarrassment was the fact that it HURT. I very ungracefully picked myself up off the wood floor and hobbled toward the door to start to unload and as soon as I spied my friend Sarah I wanted to cry. You know that thing kids do, you see them fall and they seem fine, but as soon as they spy Mama they start to cry and wail "Mommy I fell down!"

We all dove into the set up and this year I put up walls so no one could see in the booth until we were finished. It was crazy with a 10x10 booth and 5 broads all scrambling with loyal customers peeking into the booth asking "Are you ready yet?"

When we removed the front wall the booth was instantly jammed and the first two things I heard were "How much is the advent?" and "How much is the Halloween Advent?" Followed by SOLD SOLD. What a way to start the sale and I am so grateful that two gals I know gave my beloved advents a good home. Thanks Steph and Jan! I retain visitation rights OK?

I need to add a bit here about Heather and Sarah's glittered tags and jewelry that were also part of the booth. I predicted they would be a huge success, and no surprise there was always a crowd around their pendants, earrings, and tags. Many types completely sold out the first hour. They added lots of glam to the booth, and we plan to repeat the combo.

The rest of the day is somewhat of a blur. There were no slow down periods and we had a blast. I met some wonderful new ladies who I hope to get to know better, and we made a few business contacts that are very exciting. Again and again, I felt the presence of grace and gratitude.

Because of all the hub bub I really put picture taking aside and so, alas, the pictures I have are pretty, well, blah.... I have sent out a plea to the other gals to see if they got any good ones, and hope to share those this week.

To the customers who signed up for my email notices who have already stopped by here, I will be sending you a welcome note soon and thank you so much for visiting old grey mare yesterday. I hope we'll see each other again soon at a class or show, or right here. I welcome any questions and you can always contact me via email. Go to the link "see my complete profile" and find the email link there. If you wish to be a follower, you can do that over to the left also.

I need a few days to regroup, have a few clients this week, and then I begin prep for my own Holidays. Lots of baking/kitchen time in my future and then KIDS!!!!

I am so grateful. My kids, my friends, my health, well, except for very purple banged up knees and hands. I am grateful for the kindness of strangers, for the joy of the season, and for every one of you who take time out of your busy day to share in mine.

I'm normally not this long winded here, so please excuse, but I'm just so full of gushy, gooey gratefulness.


OK, just a wee bit more, but I HAVE to. Dear Sue spent the day with me and we finished her advent, and as promised here is the photo of her masterpiece. To you newbies, this was a class 18 months ago, but she has good reason for taking this long to finish. Hey, Sarah and Wendi? where are yours? :-) You'll have to bring them to our next finish it night.

Isn't it lovely?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

White Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday

* I added another note to this post late Tuesday evening.

Said with cotton balls in the mouth.....What am I the Godfather? No, I am just very busy, so here are some pics of my home, and a client's home I am working on this weekend, all mixed together. I have an early jump on WW and this will probably be my only post for this week. Come back after the weekend to see show pics and other Holiday Goodies. Having a blast, but weary is just around the corner. 20 days till kids! Think I'm counting the days? You bet!

*Tuesday evening nearly midnight. Well, except for a new banner for my booth, I am finished with everything for the show. Thanks to my band of cheerleaders, always ready with their pom poms. I am going to try very hard (with reminders from the gal pals) to get lots of pics since I took NONE of the items that I made. I remembered everything else I needed down to the most minute details, but forgot to document the process, so please come back to see those pics soon. There are still dozens of things on my "to make" list that did not get made, but there is always another day, and maybe I'll make them before Christmas to keep for my home. I had set a pretty hefty goal for myself and early this am I passed the retail amount I had hoped to reach.

Tomorrow I am making an old grey mare pendant banner similar to the BOO one in the last Gathering. Then I want to start on some hostess gifts since the Holiday parties are beginning. Today at Target I was perusing all the special holiday foods and gift sets, and Oh, don't you just love this time of year? I wanted one of everything, the special spicy nuts, the chocolate dipped pretzels, the chip dip mixes, chipotle and red bell pepper.

I'm sure that Target has less inventory this year, but what they do have is quite nice, and I love the melamine dinnerware sets for kids in the MARTHA colors of blue and green with penguins. Don't get me started on the blue and green dog stockings and sweaters on sale! Hannah would never let me live it down if I dressed the dogs, but dang they were cute. I put one little Halloween cap on Howie a few years back, and I'm still hearing about it!

I am pretty well booked for the remainder of the year but there are still a few days available for client holiday decorating, organizing and party planning. Just a reminder, the discount rate ends December 31, 2009.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

May this day be filled with blessings to all of you, and remember to count them, every one, lest we forget just how fortunate we are.


Monday, November 23, 2009


An enormous shout out of thanks to my girls, my wonderful elves who came and spent the day with me, keeping me grounded and sane during this hectic time. They stamped, glued, painted and glittered and made me LAUGH.

To Heather, Paula and Sarah, I am so grateful for your help and truly thankful for your friendship.

It really is the season of giving and you three gave great. Love you guys!

27 days till my home is abundant with joy- a Mama's joy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

White Wednesday Christmas

Another peek at the goings on around the abode this week. Lots of pics since I may not be able to do WW next week. I just walked around the house this evening and in less than 3 minutes snapped these so please excuse the casualness. I have yet to master the shots with all the lights lit and that is my favorite part. I have a good excuse, it is snowing in here!